W.A.S.P. - Double Live Assassins
CMC Records
Angry, Sleazy, Heavy Metal
Disc 1: 10 songs (61:19) Disc 2: 6 songs (36:20)
Release year: 1998
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

For the most part, W.A.S.P. are known as a quintessential eighties shock rock band. Right out of the gate was their infamous Fuck Like A Beast song that had to be released independently. Next, they were in constant battle with the P.M.R.C., the group of bored Washington housewives who felt they needed to regulate music for the whole damn country. While W.A.S.P. would eventually "get serious" and release landmark albums such as the god tier Crimson Idol and The Headless Children, this live album right here is one of the darkest and angriest records I've heard. Double Live Assassins was recorded on the Kill Fuck Die tour. Both Blackie Lawless and longtime guitarist Chris Holmes went through recent divorces and both men were seething with rage at the world. In order to make himself a bit more relevant in the era where Marilyn Manson was truly seen as a demonic Anti Christ by much of middle America, Blackie amped up the stage show to uncomfortable levels. There's video footage out there, and man, it's crazy even though it's obviously staged. Blackie also brought out some weird crazy mic stand contraption that weighs an obscene amount and ever since this tour he's had some variation of it for live shows.

First things first, I feel I should comment on the fact that there's a couple of lengthy medleys here. I despise medleys. It sucks to hear abbreviated versions of songs, especially when some of them are your favs. Having Chainsaw Charlie be reduced to some shitty segment tacked on the end of a twelve minute medley just sucks. The damn song itself is eight minutes and it's included in a medley with three others. Medley's just leave me feeling unfulfilled. Something that should be pointed out here that is a tricky dicky sticky situation, is the use of vocal backing tracks. Blackie utilizes tapes for quite a bit of the songs. Killahead is a great example. However, the way that he does use these tapes belies their usage. What I mean is, he makes it obvious he's using tapes. The vocal tracks are mainly used in a call and response section on Killahead's chorus, and only someone incredibly dense wouldn't figure it out. Live, I even think Blackie turns his head away from the mic to show he's using a tape for this part. Speaking of Killahead, this and all the other K.F.D. songs sound very different in this live setting. There are no keyboards, and the drums are being played loud and proud instead of being programmed. The intro to Little Death for example is a hundred times more powerful live than the studio version. With industrial sounds being replaced by angry guitars, all of these songs translate well live. Kill Your Pretty Face and The Horror are more solemn, spooky, haunting songs that are still scary sounding live. I'm torn between if Blackie is using a tape on the chorus of Kill Your Pretty Face. He does skip out on some lines before the huge scream of the title, so maybe he's gathering himself? I mean it does sound exactly like the album so I dunno.

The other aspect of Double Live Assassins that makes this sound like a peek inside a pissed off mind is the stage banter. Man, Blackie just is fucking mad at the world and he's letting everyone know! For the first four or five songs, you can hear a kinda edge to him. An angry edge. But it isn't until we get to I Wanna Be Somebody that he lets it allllllll out. When the guitars drop out here and it's drum and bass time, Blackie goes on a scathing diatribe against people who love to see you be brought down. It's vulgar, primal, offensive, and full of hate. So full of hate. Then, the next track is U, which has a chorus of, "You fucking suck! Kill yourself for me!" and on top of this Blackie just starts screaming obscenities near the climax. There's a brief respite from all the rage with a cover of The Real Me and then bam, we get a back to back of more pure hatred with Kill Your Pretty Face and The Horror. You don't even need to see what's happening on the stage to start feeling uncomfortable.

Disc two begins with Blind In Texas and the mood just does NOT fit. This is a straight up party hardy song, following twenty plus minutes of uncomfortable and deep rooted anger. Things just got too damn serious real hard, real fast! The Headless Children and a Crimson Idol medley establish a more "serious" tone again, but these are more rooted in a tragic feeling rather than vitriolic anger personified. Little Death brings that hate back for one last punch to the sky, and finally the show ends with a mash up of Mean Man and Rock N Roll To Death. Also included is a story from Blackie about Chris Holmes and his big mouth. Disc two does feel inferior to the first one but I think that's because this one basically has TWO medleys on it, plus a full on ballad with The Idol. I would have much rather had a full version of Arena Of Pleasure or I Am One rather than more damn medleys! Or even Thunderhead would have been cool and still kept up with the "serious" theme.

Another interesting thing about Double Live Assassins is that due to Blackie's now Christian state, an album like this would not be released. Again, I cannot stress how angry this record feels. You can tell this was made by angry, angry men. It's kinda wild to me that there's so many bands that exist to push the extremes, yet an eighties "hair metal / shock rock" group released a record like this, supporting a typical "nineties experimental" LP that is nothing like anything else in their discography, in the dark times of the late nineties. Worth a look, especially if you're a more recent convert to the band.

Killing Songs :
Wild Child, Killahead, The Horror, I Wanna Be Somebody, Mean Man, Little Death
Ben quoted no quote
Other albums by W.A.S.P. that we have reviewed:
W.A.S.P. - K.F.D. reviewed by Ben and quoted 75 / 100
W.A.S.P. - Golgotha reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
W.A.S.P. - Babylon reviewed by Marty and quoted 85 / 100
W.A.S.P. - Dominator reviewed by Jeff and quoted 75 / 100
W.A.S.P. - Still Not Black Enough reviewed by Chris and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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